Regulatory policy

Better Regulation in Europe - Progress and Trends


Key insights from the EU 15 reviews

Key emerging trends and issues which are captured in the reviews of 15 European member states and are likely in other OECD countries include:

  • The growing interest in a broader social/citizen dimension to regulatory policy, extending scope beyond the business community. The reviews show, for example, the growth of citizen programmes, links with social welfare objectives, and the emergence of sustainability impact assessments.

  • The rich and often complex institutional frameworks which come into play for the development of policy and rule making and its implementation on the ground, and in particular, the role played by parliaments as well as the judiciary.
  • The development of new forms of regulatory management based on networks, external oversight bodies, and internal support units.

  • The fundamental links between regulatory governance and other aspects of public governance, including e-government, civil service reform, and budget processes.
  • The challenges posed by complex modern societies for the effective management of public consultation, and the linked issue of how to make best use of new technologies.
  • Growing acknowledgment of the importance of local or sub national levels of government for effective regulatory management, as they are often the primary interface for SMEs and citizens in regulatory issues. This issue is important for unitary as well as federal states.
  • The limited impact of ex ante impact assessment processes on the policy and rule making process despite growing awareness that this is a key tool for improving regulatory quality, and the need for significant further culture change in this regard.

  • The complex but crucial relationship between the national level and the institutions of the European Union for regulatory management, which needs more attention and has some lessons for equivalent relationships outside the EU.
  • The political and communication dimension. The reviews highlight that regulatory policy will only thrive if it has political support, civil service “buy in” and if external stakeholders perceive it to be relevant.

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For further information, please contact Caroline Varley or Shayne MacLachlan

Photo credits: Ronald Hudson/, Shayne MacLachlan



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